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Magistrate ‘fell asleep’ during trial


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A magistrate, John Harrison, is under investigation after reportedly falling asleep during a teenager’s trial for an alleged assault.

Mr Harrison was sitting with two colleagues at Lancaster Magistrates Court when the defendant’s mother noticed that he had closed his eyes.

She complained and her son’s solicitor made an official representation to the court.

Mr Harrison denied having fallen sleep, but after discussions with both his colleagues and a court official he decided to halt the case after a day and a half.

The defendant will now have to return to court next month for a new trial.

Mr Harrison told his local newspaper he had merely been resting his eyes.

“I was not asleep, but I rested my eyes for five minutes or so,” he said. “It was just a normal reaction in the middle of the afternoon.

“The court was warm – the heating was on and the sun was pouring in through the window.

“I was still listening to the defence solicitor speaking to the defendant and I was able to take down some notes related to what was said.

“My two colleagues sitting with me said I was not asleep and we could have continued with the trial. But I listened to my legal advisor and felt that if the mother was so aggrieved it was in the interests of justice to have a retrial.”

Mr Harrison, a magistrate since 1997, said he was considering raising the issue of humidity in the courtroom at a forthcoming meeting of the Lancaster bench.

A spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office confirmed that the matter had been referred to the local magistrates’ advisory committee, which has the power to discipline magistrates.

www.telegraph.co.uk

www.alphainventions.com

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March 26, 2009 - Posted by | Entertainement, Funny, People, Politics

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